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FULL TIME: Swindon Town 0 Crystal Palace 1
SWINDON Town were beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace in their final pre-season friendly at the County Ground this evening.
Jermaine Easter’s penalty 10 minutes into the match, after Wes Foderingham had felled Glen Murray in the Town box, proved decisive in an entertaining encounter.
Andy Williams struck the woodwork twice in the opening 12 minutes while Foderingham did well to deny Easter a second late in the first half.
After the break, Matt Ritchie and Williams saw shots saved by Palace’s Lewis Price and the visitors went close through Paddy McCarthy, whose header was cleared off the line by Troy Archibald-Henville, and Wilfred Zaha.
But in the end it was Easter’s early spot-kick that settled the game in the visitors’ favour.
Here are the key moments from today’s match:
Two mins: Matt Ritchie has the game’s first shot at goal, but his effort from 20 yards is more likely to endanger those having a kickabout on the County Ground extension than Palace’s goal
Three mins: Andy Williams comes oh so close to putting the home side ahead. He prods Gary Roberts’ superb low cross goalwards but Palace keeper Julian Speroni produces a fine reaction save to paw the ball onto a post.
Four mins: Jermaine Easter pulls the trigger from 25 yards out but his low effort is easily saved by the diving Wes Foderingham.
Seven mins: A quick counter attack by Swindon ends with Roberts turning Joel Ward inside out on the left. His low cross is cleared and, when the ball is returned into the area, Ritchie’s shot is well blocked by Dean Moxey.
10 mins: GOAL 0-1 (Easter, pen) Despite Town’s early dominance, the Robins find themselves behind when an inch-perfect pass from Wilfred Zaha slices the hosts’ defence in two and sends Glen Murray galloping through on goal.
The striker rounds Foderingham and goes to ground and, though the Swindon stopper appeared to get some of the ball, referee Simon Hooper points to the spot.
Easter makes no mistake from 12 yards, thrashing the ball beyond Foderingham to give Palace the lead.
12 mins: Williams hits the post for the second time in the space of 10 minutes. The former Yeovil man is played through and controls his shot from a bouncing ball well but, despite seeing his strike beat Speroni, he can only watch on in agony as it bounces off the inside of the keeper’s left-hand post and away to safety.
14 mins: Swindon respond well to falling behind and Miller tries his luck from distance. Unfortunately for the midfielder, he sees Speroni smother the ball en route to goal.
29 mins: After a bit of a phoney war in midfield for 15 minutes, with both sides threatening without really creating a significant chance, Williams has another sight of goal.
Navarro and Caddis combine neatly on the right and, after the latter’s cross is chested into Williams’ path by Ritchie, the former Yeovil man cannot direct his half-volley on target.
37 mins: The first real defensive hesitation from Swindon allows Zaha to pick out Easter and only the legs of Foderingham prevent the Palace striker from doubling his own, and his team’s tally for the evening.
44 mins: Ritchie’s free-kick from 22 yards flies into the Stratton Bank. That was a good position and a bit of a waste from the Swindon winger.
50 mins: Jedinak lashes the ball at Foderingham from a very narrow angle but the Swindon keeper is more than equal to the effort and makes the save.
58 mins: A momentary lull in the game, as both sides struggle to find a rhythm, is broken in fierce fashion by Ritchie’s thunderbolt-like effort from 20 yards.
The strike must have stung substitute keeper Lewis Price’s hands as the Palace keeper beat it somewhat tentatively to safety.
60 mins: Another good stop from Foderingham prevents Zaha from firing Palace 2-0 up.
The visiting winger has terrorised the Town defence throughout and he teases Caddis from his left foot onto his right before drilling an attempt which is destined for the bottom corner before Foderingham’s intervention.
70 mins: Lewis Price picks up where Julian Speroni left off in the first half with a superb save to push Williams’ attempt from 12 yards to safety after the Town striker was played through neatly by Roberts.
72 mins: Palace are on the prowl and go close to taking the lead twice in as many minutes. First Foderingham moves across well to push Jose Baxter’s 22-yard free-kick around his right-hand post before Archibald-Henville gets up to nod McCarthy’s header off the line.
Palace, despite a plethora of substitutions, are gaining momentum.
81 mins: The Eagles go close to their second goal of the evening as Baxter picks up on an error by McCormack in the final third to lash the ball goalwards.
Foderingham cuts a relieved figure as he watches the shot swing past his right-hand post.
90 mins: Almost a dramatic late leveller for Town as Aden Flint pokes Luke Rooney's free-kick over Price and towards goal but the ball is cleared off the line by a Palace defender as the referee blows his final whistle.
SWINDON TOWN: Wes Foderingham; Paul Caddis, Troy Archibald-Henville (Aden Flint, 80), Alan McCormack (Joe Devera, 87), Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie (Luke Rooney, 80), Tommy Miller, Alan Navarro (Simon Ferry, 60), Gary Roberts (Raffa De Vita, 80); Paul Benson (James Collins, 65), Andy Williams
Subs not used: Leigh Bedwell, Chris Smith, Nathan Thompson , Alessandro Cibocchi, Oliver Risser, Louis Thompson, Miles Storey
CRYSTAL PALACE SQUAD: Julian Speroni, Joel Ward, Aaron Martin, Paddy McCarthy, Dean Moxey; Mile Jedinak, Kagisho Dikgachoi, Jonny Williams, Wilf Zaha; Glen Murray, Jermaine Easter, Lewis Price, David Wright, Jonathon Parr, Omar Kossoko, Jose Baxter, Alex Marrow, Ugo Ukay, Peter Rammage, Kwesi Appiah, Stewart O’Keefe, Thiago Rosa